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Joseph Montoya

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Title: Joseph Montoya  
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Subject: United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1970, Harrison Schmitt, United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1976, United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1964, E. S. Johnny Walker
Collection: 1915 Births, 1978 Deaths, American People of Spanish Descent, American Politicians of Spanish Descent, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party United States Senators, Georgetown University Law Center Alumni, Hispanic and Latino American Members of the United States Congress, Lieutenant Governors of New Mexico, Members of the New Mexico House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from New Mexico, Neomexicanos, New Mexico Democrats, New Mexico State Senators, People Associated with the Watergate Scandal, Regis University Alumni, United States Senators from New Mexico
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Joseph Montoya

Joseph Montoya
United States Senator
from New Mexico
In office
November 4, 1964 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Edwin L. Mechem
Succeeded by Harrison Schmitt
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's At-large district (Seat 2)
In office
April 9, 1957 – November 3, 1964
Preceded by Antonio M. Fernández
Succeeded by E. S. Johnny Walker
16th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1955 – April 1957
Governor John F. Simms
Edwin L. Mechem
Preceded by Ed V. Mead
Succeeded by Tibo J. Chávez
14th Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1947 – January 1, 1951
Governor Thomas J. Mabry
Preceded by James B. Jones
Succeeded by Tibo J. Chávez
Personal details
Born Joseph Manuel Montoya
(1915-09-24)September 24, 1915
Pena Blanca, New Mexico
Died June 8, 1978(1978-06-08) (aged 62)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic

Joseph Manuel Montoya (September 24, 1915 – June 8, 1978) was a Democratic U.S. Senator for New Mexico from 1964 until 1977.


  • Education 1
  • Later life and career 2
    • New Mexico politics 2.1
    • U.S. Congress 2.2
  • Successes 3
  • Beliefs and other work 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Montoya was born in Washington, D.C..

Later life and career

In 1936 at age 21, while Montoya was still at Georgetown, he became the youngest representative in the history of the state to be elected to the New Mexico State House of Representatives. In 1938 Montoya graduated from law school and was reelected. The following year he was elected the Democratic majority floor leader.

New Mexico politics

Montoya continued his political ascent with his election to the New Mexico State Senate in 1940, once again becoming the youngest member of that body ever elected. By the time he left the Senate in 1946, Montoya had been twice reelected to the State Senate and held the positions of majority whip and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. From 1947 to 1957 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico three times[2] and also served two additional terms in the State Senate.

U.S. Congress

In 1957 Montoya was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election after the sudden death of the recently reelected New Mexican Congressman Antonio M. Fernández. In Congress Montoya gained a recognition as a political moderate, a dedicated Democrat, and a diligent legislator — qualities that earned him the esteem of his fellow legislators and made him an effective congressman. In 1962 he defeated Republican Jack Redman, also an Albuquerque High School alum.[2] In 1963 he became a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He was a strong advocate of education measures and soon authored the Vocational Education Act. In 1964 he sponsored the Wilderness Act, which protected wilderness areas. Montoya won the 1964 Senate election to complete the term of Dennis Chavez, who died in office. Montoya won even though the Governor of New Mexico, Edwin L. Mechem, had resigned the governorship in order fill the seat temporarily. Thus began a twelve-year career in the Senate, where he served on the Appropriations Committee; the Public Works Committee; the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy; and most memorably, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, popularly known as the Senate Watergate Committee.


Montoya's most important accomplishment was his work on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he gained expertise concerning the inspection and regulation of the meat packing industry. This led to an interest in consumer safety and health. He authored numerous pieces of legislation aimed at eliminating unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry, including the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, the Wholesome Poultry Act of 1968 and the Clean Hot Dog Act of 1974.

Beliefs and other work

Montoya also worked on behalf of civil rights, education, health care, alien workers. In the health-care area he supported medicare, medicaid, and introduced a bill to provide bilingual training for those in the health care professions. Montoya also supported environmental protection and programs to assist the elderly. His positions on the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Senate Appropriations Committee allowed him to have a strong influence on maintenance of the federal installations in New Mexico.

In 1976 Montoya was defeated by Republican Harrison Schmitt 57% to 42%.

Montoya spent the next two years primarily helping Senator Pete Domenici to keep the federal installations in New Mexico open. Montoya died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 62.


  1. ^ Spanish Americans, Lives and faces
  2. ^ State of New Mexico (July 2012). Kathryn A. Flynn, ed. 2012 Centennial Blue Book (PDF). Diana J. Duran. Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State. pp. 218–219. 

External links

  • Inventory of the Joseph M. Montoya Papers, 1913-1977, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.
Political offices
Preceded by
James B. Jones
Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Tibo J. Chávez
Preceded by
Ed V. Mead
Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Tibo J. Chávez
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Antonio M. Fernández (d. November 7, 1956, leaving a vacancy)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's At-large congressional district (Seat 2)

Succeeded by
E. S. Johnny Walker
United States Senate
Preceded by
Edwin L. Mechem
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New Mexico
Served alongside: Clinton Presba Anderson, Pete Domenici
Succeeded by
Harrison Schmitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dennis Chavez
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(Class 1)

1964, 1970, 1976
Succeeded by
Jeff Bingaman
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